Berlin in the summer of 2017 is a city where reality is starting to fall apart. The old capital of the Prince-Electors is the border between the world we know and the world we have chosen to forget. In abandoned buildings covered by graffiti, doors are opening into the metropolis left behind by humanity. Beneath the villas at Wannsee, a black citadel appears. An old hospital built by angels holds secrets from the time when artists tore down walls and defied authority. A Swedish sculptor comes here, searching for inspiration. Instead, she finds the path to Inferno.
This is my review of Death is Only the Beginning. Written by the authors of the first edition of KULT, Gunilla Jonsson and Michael Petersen. Worth noting that I read this book in Swedish. It is planned to be published in English in a close future.
The book is set in Berlin in our present day. And we get dragged into an intrigue that is very close to the classic movie Hellraiser where a person escapes Inferno and takes the form of relative to escape his pursuers. It revolves in the art scene and combines magic, brutality and sex in ways that feels a lot like old KULT.
There are some truly wondrous scenes that still stick in my mind. A Torture Scene in Inferno where a piece of brain is scoped out and memories stolen. A Lictor that works in the police force and actually has an interesting and melancholic personality (and seems sympathetic to the main character Amanda) and a sex scene with a half demon that has the right amount if grit in it.
For every KULT fans there is much to enjoy. And if you have read or played the Black Madonna you can sort of feel that atmosphere echo through the book.
There are some negative things that somewhat lessens the experience. There are far to many characters so you can’t really keep track off and/or care about them. The story is a bit slow and hard to get into but what I find most problematic is that there is no sense of wonder in things that should be wondrous and mind boggling. When the main character is led into Metropolis it is just written in a way that it kills all mood and realism. “This is another dimension, we used this ancient city that once were the home of mankind to smuggle refuges from east Berlin when the Berlin wall was still standing.” And the main character sort of shrugs and says okay, whatever.
I would say that Death is Only the Beginning unsurprisingly feels like old KULT. And this I mean in a negative way. The new edition KULT: Divinity Lost took the old game and gave it new life, updated it and deepened it on a spiritual level. It made the changes that needed to made for it not to feel like a remnant of the 90s.
Still, if you are a fan of KULT or horror that breathes of Clive Barker you really should check it in. You will not be disappointed. If you live in Sweden you can order it from here: Fria Ligans Webbutik