I have to say first off, that this book is extremely helpful in learning not only SQL Server 2012, but Business Intelligence practices as well. The writing is concise, and precise - meaning that it is easy to absorb the tremendous amount of information here quickly. Acronyms are spelled out frequently - usually at the beginning of each chapter, which while a little repetitive, really helps cement them in memory. The book is nicely divided into explanation, or lecture I'd call it, and guided exercises. The two combined really help to completely cover the topics, and it's separated and organized well so that if you're experienced with a certain topic or feature, you can either just read about it, or just do the exercise.
The book is fairly introductory, but moves to advanced topics quickly. You don't need extensive RDBMS experience to dive in, you don't need any programming experience, but if you don't know what a Primary Key and Foreign key are, you may struggle at times...
The only reason I didn't give this five stars is twofold. One is that I purchased the Kindle edition, and the screenshots and figures usually appear about a full page's text after they are referenced. In this time, the topic has usually shifted to something else, another operation, and what might have been a helpful graphic turns into an interruption. Additionally, the images are of such overly compressed and poor quality, you can actually notice the compression in standard view, and text is illegible when the image is enlarged.
The second reason for four stars, and something that may cause many others to also skip over large sections is the extensive coverage of individual windows. I guess some people might like it, and admittedly I have been using Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server Management Studio (SQSMS) for a while, but even so, I don't think that the import data wizard needs several pages and numerous graphics - perhaps as a tutorial to use it, but not as just a description of what it does. That's fairly obvious and too well documented on MSDN to occupy so much page space. This focus repeats with a tremendous amount of space dedicated to images of different VS2010 and SQSMS windows. The hands on exercise assume you can just open these up yourself and look at them. If there were arrows, circled buttons, an image guide to the window that would be one thing, but they're just screenshots, and very poor ones at that on the Kindle.
Finally, the only inconsistency I've noticed so far is that compression is limited to Enterprise edition, Developer gives an error message stating this. I'm not complaining about this, as it is probably an issue of publication date and Microsoft business decisions, but instead I note it because other than that, the book and exercises are extremely accurate!