I think I wouldn't be feeling quite so disappointed by this book if The Hunger Games hadn't been quite so close to perfect. But there it is. Must be hard to compete with yourself when you set the bar so high.
Where The Hunger Games is a tightly-plotted, fast-paced dystopian thriller heaped with romance and horror, this book is... well, a lot of the same. A WHOLE lot of the same plot. Redundantly similar at points, only slower moving and far less polished. Too much of the story is told rather than shown -- whole months can go by in just a few pages -- and yet the real action gets rolling about two thirds of the way through the book. There were times when the story actually seemed to PLOD.
That said, this is an ARC and things could change. Here's hoping this one sees some revision before its publication this fall. Collins is obviously capable of great things. And all complaints aside, this is a very compelling read. Fantastic characters, and the setup is definitely there for an interesting conclusion. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
THAT said, marks off for deus ex machina abuse.