I'd recommend this game under one condition: Take the advice in the title, and prepare yourself. Death is not failure, but it is common.
First, a bit of background: Coming into this game, and having never touched either it or a controller before, I actively disliked a lot about it. I hated the Vancian cast limits placed on the magic (still do, in fact; I'd prefer nerfed magic and a bloody mana bar). I also expected to be able to play it immediately, but instead was advised to get DSFix (no, seriously, get it immediately) to ensure that it worked well the first time around. I had to buy a controller just to PLAY the game, since the M&K combo didn't work out. The only reason I even got the game was that a friend wanted me to try it, and it wasn't all that expensive. All in all, I was more than ready to hate this game and everything about it.
And then I actually PLAYED the game.
And it's amazing.
Let's ignore the setting for a minute, because it's awesome on its own. Let's ignore the depth of the lore, and the subtlety behind it, for the same reasons. Let's look at the combat, and the exploration, and the GAMEPLAY of the game. I have never seen a game so dedicated to making it YOUR FAULT when you die. It's not that hard to take about ten extra seconds and think it out before charging in, and if you do that, you instantly double your chances of survival. Trying out a weapon and learning its quirks BEFORE fighting the enemy is absolutely vital, so that you know how to time your hits. The attacks the enemies use are, for the most part, very easy to read if you just WAIT a minute and figure it out. It's not hard to figure out which enemies are tough enough that you should just leave them alone for a while, and if you attacked them, it's on your head. Once you understand the basic mechanics, the game becomes downright refreshing.
I don't know about you, but I hate it when I die in a game and it WASN'T my fault. I need to be able to see where I screwed up, and fix it. This is the game that lets you do that, and if you're not willing to do so, of COURSE the game is super hard. Of COURSE you're getting punished. If you're not willing to learn and get good, you deserve punishment.
In summary, though, this game is not for casuls. This game is for the player who is willing to accept constructive criticism both from the game and from the player base. This game is a trial by (bon)fire, and passing through will temper you into a better gamer, and possibly a better person. Git gud, stay warm, praise the sun, and kill the dogs first. Good luck out there, and don't you dare go Hollow.