I reviewed this book when it was first released, and gave it a 5-star review. I've come back to edit that review because, in retrospect, I realise that I was so delighted to find ANY book on Blender character animation that I overlooked some definite flaws. I now rate it as 4-star (but while Amazon allows me to revise my wording, it won't let me change the number of stars.)
I've recently been working through the book again, and have come back to give the following revised review.
For several years, I downloaded Blender on a regular basis, tried to learn how to use it, and gave up because I found it far too difficult.
The appearance of this book changed that. Now for the first time, I 'get' Blender, and see that its quirky and apparently non-intuitive interface really makes a lot of sense.
I'm also even more awestruck at how jaw-droppingly good Blender actually is. Yes, this FREE downloadable program is shockingly *better* than 3D software packages I've purchased at several hundred pounds/dollars a shot.
This book takes you all the way on your journey, from the interface basics, to modeling your figure, to full-fledged animation. I highly recommend it, and would go so far as to say that it *is* an essential purchase for a Blender user.
There are a few minor annoyances - not everything that's supposed to be on the accompanying disk is actually there, and there are a few minor typos scattered through out the text and places where the instructions could have been a little clearer.
Sadly there are some that are not quite so minor. For example in setting up the rig to animate my model, I followed the instructions exactly, yet always ended up with a rig that just didn't work. After many, many frustrating attempts, I loaded up the author's figure from the accompanying disk, and checked through it bone by bone...
And found that an important set of bones in the author's rig were set up differently from the instructions in the book. I guess the sentence about re-parenting the hand IK bones must have dropped out somewhere.
Thereafter, having wasted days trying to figure out what was going wrong, I kept two instances of Blender open. In one, I had my own work-in-progress, in the other I had the author's model, and I kept comparing them every step of the way.
I would go so far as to say that if you don't have the accompanying disk, this book will be... well, not *useless*, but you'll never succeed in following the projects it outlines.
In spite of the above, I still think it's currently the best (uh... the only?) book available on Blender Character animation. I still think it's a must-buy for someone trying to learn Blender. But I would add this caution: Make sure you get a version that includes the disk of examples (ie, don't get a second-hand book where the disk has gone astray, and don't get an electronic download (which doesn't include the material on the disk.)
Because of the errata, I now rate this book at 4 stars, but so long as you heed the caution about needing (and using) the disk, I would still recommend it highly.