This is a fantastic introduction to D&D! I have ran through this several times with groups of brand new players, including one group that was made up of eleven year olds. This does a really great job of jumping into some interesting action right away. It helps the players make sense of the different skills they can utalize as well as the flow of combat. Not only that, but it makes Sildar a much more interesting charachter. My groups had sort of a love to hate him thing going on, but when the found him later in the adventure (in the Lost Mines of Phandelver part) they couldn't stop talking about the moves Sildar kept doing to them during that first test fight. I would call that a win!
[5 of 5 Stars!]