I'm a SharePoint Infrastructure Engineer who is working on adding some development skills. I purchased this book because of the "Beginning" in the title, but it's not for the beginning I'm coming from. If you're no great shakes at coding, this book will be deficient for you because it covers what is new and/or unique about SharePoint, but not coding basics that would allow you to use those features if you're not already familiar with a language.
Of course, if I'd read the first page I would've gathered that, so I can't really blame the authors. The first sentence under the header "WHO THIS BOOK IS FOR" is (and this is a direct quote):
"Simply put, this book is aimed at the developer who is new to SharePoint."
That's what I get for judging a book by it's cover, I suppose. They could've made the title "Beginning SharePoint 2013 Development, but not development in general," but that's confusing and terrible. Anyway, this review is to help other people avoid my mistake. I'll let you know if I find a book that better fills the need of being an introduction not just to SharePoint, but to programming in general.
I've tried a few other books and have read through more of this one. Another good resource is "Professional SharePoint 2013 Development" but it is also not for the novice programmer, just the novice SharePointer. The Professional development book is significantly more comprehensive, though, and covers a lot of the same material in a different way. If you're getting in to SharePoint development and are already a programmer I might recommend that book, though Beginning development explains some things in a better manner and with better examples.
I upgraded my score from three stars to four stars since the book is pretty good for the target audience, and my lack of programming background shouldn't influence me to drag their score down.