It's interesting to note that Paper Cuts' seven deadly words of book reviewing are exclusively words of praise. (Though, presumably, "shite" - and "slight" - would be similar no-nos.) Which raises the question: Are words of praise inherently less interesting than words of criticism? Or are they merely overused, as Ruth Franklin observed (we were going to say "intriguingly" but stopped ourselves) back when she reviewed David Mitchell's Black Swan Green:
The writer seeking fresh language with which to express her enthusiasm soon discovers that this particular vocabulary has been colonized by p.r. flacks whipping up empty, fluffy blurbs. The result is that all praise now feels like exaggerated praise. Sixty years ago, Orwell famously complained of the book reviewer's clich�s, the "stale old phrases" that get trotted out in the desperation of deadlines: "a book that no one should miss," "something memorable on every page." Nothing has changed, not even the syntax. In this blurbing age, we are still deluged by dizzy claims: that a novelist we know to be decidedly mediocre is "like a latter-day Dostoyevsky," or that a pop historian's latest hack job should be "required reading in living rooms from coast to coast," or that "every single note is perfection" in a piece of chick lit so bad that I could manage only a few chapters.
For the record, we frequently eschew, both in writing and in conversation.