“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

At the opening of the novel, this quote introduces the setting of the Night Circus as something unexpected and mysterious. The opening of the novel with the arrival of the circus creates a parallel and immersive experience, allowing the reader to figuratively step inside and explore it alongside the circusgoers. Unlike other circuses, it relies on word of mouth to draw in crowds rather than renting billboards or producing advertisements. Where other circuses stick to regimented travel schedules where their showtimes are announced long in advance, Le Cirque des Rêves intentionally bucks these conventions. In this way, the circus subverts expectations of what a circus should do and foreshadows the ethereal experience that lies within its gates. The surprise of an entire circus arriving unannounced also bolsters the whimsical nature of Le Cirque des Rêves, creating a tone of surprise, mystery, and delight that permeates the entire novel.