I agree with you about the cliffhanger, and if you know what you do, then that's the main bombshell of the the third book gone.
I think the 2nd one's the best one, closely followed by the first one, but I don't think much of the last one.
I'd say read them if you have the patience, but if not, I just read another book called "Divergent" by Veronica Roth, which I liked as equally as I liked the Hunger Games.
But either way, the end of Mockingjay (Hunger Games, book 3) is absolutely terrible. I guess you already know what happens, but it made me angry. :/
Well I have just finished reading the trilogy, I was definitely pleasantly surprised, I thought they were good, fast moving and addictive. The general consensus seems to be that Catching Fire is the best and Mockingjay is a disappointment but I thought they were all good, although Mockingjay is very different with there not being a 'Games' involved as such.
I probably liked Mockingjay for the same reasons others disliked it. It's written from the perspective of a 16/17 year old girl, probably most of the target audience is girls of similar age to Katniss who feel they can identify with her and so are interested in the love triangle aspect of two sources of male interest that represent different types of guys, and so they wonder who they would pick and how it will end up. As Mockingjay goes on however the love triangle becomes a less central part of the story and it is more really a story of guerilla warfare and a totalitarian state on the back foot. It becomes harder for girls reading the story to identify with Katniss as she starts becoming a more and more detached and ruthless character, at one point she sees an unarmed civilian woman and shoots her in the heart straight away Gale also becomes a less likeable character as the book goes on, he seems cold and bitter and selfish. Suzanne Collins also throws in a curveball by creating Finnick as the most ideal male character in the book but then making it clear early on that he's off limits as he's taken by another girl.
I think the book is disappointing if you are mainly looking for how the romance part of the story develops as this loses steam and gets replaced by much darker themes. As an adventure story with political themes its good though, but it's not a feel good book, bad things happen, lots of the more likeable characters suffer violent deaths and by the end the main characters that survive appear to be brutalised and shattered forms of their earlier selves.
Hunger Games is a good book as a stand alone, the other two are the main parts of the story of the trilogy which is basically about a revolution, and most of the characters don't get introduced till Catching Fire.
As everyone states, its not great descriptive literature, it's simple fast moving plot, but the story is well created, there are a lot of twists, and it doesn't have a corny or sickly sweet ending, far from it.
I think the first two books are really good, the concept is interesting and different, and the author managed to keep it all exciting. However the last book was a real dissapointment, it felt really slow and the majority of it was just Katniss' moping, which started to turn her into a really unlikable character.