Short Answer: Then stick close to good Dr. Watson.
It is entirely possible that some readers who happen across this story may dislike or look askance on the story of Harry Potter. It is even possible that some of you may have moral qualms about touching it on account of Harry being a ‘wizard’ who practices ‘magic’. I’d like to answer such concerns as I may.
(If you love Harry’s tale already, never mind about this article.)
Firstly, for those of you who are concerned about it ethically, the ‘magic’ in the popular children’s series bears far more resemblance to the powers and technologies of science-fiction than it does to the actual definition of witchcraft. The ‘wizards and witches’ in the story come by their power naturally. It is not by bargaining with the supernatural, but by being born with a genetic quirk that they have extraordinary abilities. Their technologies simply utilize this innate power.
Therefore, it is my belief that the basic playing field of the wizarding society – though used for both good or evil – is in itself quite innocent.
I see two exceptions to this rule. One is the villain. He not only does evil things with his abilities, but veers into the actually supernatural in such a fashion that I think it can reasonably be said that he is actually practising witchcraft or black magic.
The second exception lies in the opposite direction. There is one thing in the story which might be said to bear more relation to the ‘deep magic’ of Narnia than to either witchcraft or science-fiction. I do not consider its philosophical grounds to be on anything like the same level as Lewis’s work, but that is the best comparison I can see to draw.
So, if your objection to witchcraft in stories goes so far as forbid tales where the bad-guy is a sorcerer, you may have a problem with this story. But if you are okay with a story where the good guys have naturally occurring strange abilities (like Spider-man or Mr. Spock) and the villain is an actual sorcerer, then I think you would be okay with both the original Harry Potter and this derivative tale.
If you’re still worried, remember, the character you’ll be following in this novel is the good, plain Dr. Watson.
Which leads me to another point. For those of you who chose not to read or failed to finish Harry Potter simply because it isn’t your cup of tea or because you had some problem with the plot (some do) you might still enjoy this derivative. For it is first and foremost a Sherlock Holmes case; the world is that of Harry Potter, but we view it through John Watson’s mind, and we move with the great detective. I would not encourage anyone who might still read Harry Potter to read this instead. But I do think that both people who loved the original, and people who were frustrated by the original, may find it of interest.