I'm not sure what the people who have given this book bad reviews expected from it, but I'm pretty sure they expected something completely different than what it is.
Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic-books are to be seen as instructions on principles of complicated pattern design rather than as handbooks on how to make her designs (although they may very well be used that way too, for some of the projects). Many of the projects in them do not lead to finished pieces of clothing, but they teach you how to go about creating patterns for marvellous designs, in a way that enables you to use the principles in your own design.
I disagree that you have to use the blocks provided with the books to use them. I've made several of the designs using my own, personal, block. Now, I'm fortunate enough to be of a similar size as the blocks, but with a bit of easy calculation it would be easy to adopt the principles of the designs to blocks of any size.
But don't expect to be able to make everything from these books without making an effort, many of the projects involve a bit of mental exercise, but it's well worth it since you develop your skills in pattern design in the process, learn new ways to go about it and end up with some marvellous designs when you succeed.
I've bought both the Japanese and English versions, and had great use of the japanese ones even with very rudimentary skills in the japanese language, the pictures are excellent and easy to understand.
I do recommend these books for anyone who wants to develop their skills in pattern design beyond the ordinary, there is nothing like them.